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posted: 6/28/2013 12:14 PM

Half-size replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial to come to Aurora

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Submitted by Aurora Moving Wall Committee

Dieterle Memorial Home of Montgomery has contributed $5,000 toward the effort to bring The Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Aurora in November, the largest contribution so far.

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The Moving Wall, which is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will rise in the practice soccer fields of West Aurora High School and be on display Nov. 7-11. In addition, the traveling replica of the World War II memorial and 2,013 American flags will be on display during the "Field of Honor" event.

The Wall is engraved with the names of 58,282 Americans who perished in the Vietnam Conflict or are still unaccounted for (Prisoners of War and Missing in Action).

More than 200,000 people are expected to visit the "Field of Honor" during the five-day event. The Moving Wall was last in Aurora 24 years ago, when more than 150,000 people came to view it.

Dieterle president Mel Payne served in Vietnam, said Randy Valentine, who is the company's funeral director.

"The whole thing is about giving back to the veterans who have given to us to help keep us safe," Valentine said. "The Moving Wall is a very solemn tribute to those who lost their lives while serving."

The Aurora Moving Wall Committee, headed by Chairman Herschel Luckinbill, has set a goal to raise $50,000 to pay for displays and daily patriotic events at the site. With the contribution from Dieterle, which is located at 1120 S. Broadway, Montgomery, the committee recently passed $10,000 in total contributions. The committee has received nearly 20 donations so far. Sponsorship opportunities include the following levels: Admiral level ($5,000 and up); Captain ($3,000); Lieutenant ($2,000); and NCO ($500-$1,000).

Signage opportunities vary by level of contribution.

To make a contribution, volunteer or find out more about becoming a sponsor, visit www.vietnammovingwallaurora.org.

"We want this to be the biggest event this Wall and Aurora has ever seen, and we want it to honor all veterans," said Luckinbill. "As a Vietnam veteran, having the wall come to Aurora means everything to me. I served on the first American ship that received direct gunfire in the Vietnam War. I lost a shipmate who slept right above me. I know what war's about."

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